Upcoming Officials Clinics


    January 30, 2016
    Between Sessions Hogan Meet
    Walkersville, High School
    Walkersville, MD
    Facilitator: Ed Goundry

    February 2, 2016
    6:30 PM
    Gilman School
    Gilman Athletic Center
    McCarthy Room
    Facilitator: Greer Verheyen


    January 31, 2016
    Between Sessions Hogan Meet
    Walkersville High School
    Walkersville, MD
    Facilitator: Ed Goundry





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Click to read an interesting article presenting one Dr.'s opinion that "You are Doing It Wrong ".

From an article written for Swim Swwam by Elizabeth Wickham


  1. Cheer for your child and other swimmers, too.
  2. Talk to parents from other teams.
  3. Say thank you to officials after a meet.
  4. Accept your timing assignment with a smile.
  5. Ask your swimmer after a race, “How did that feel?”
  6. Get your swimmer to practice consistently.
  7. Meet with your swimmer’s coach if you have any concerns.


  1. Only cheer for your own swimmer.
  2. Give other teams or certain swimmers the evil eye.
  3. Argue with the official after your swimmer gets DQ’d.
  4. Refuse to time, because you have more important things to do.
  5. Wait at the blocks for your swimmer to finish his race, so you can give your critique before he talks to the coach.
  6. Get your swimmer to the pool AND record their practices so you can review them later at home.
  7. Tell everyone on deck how your kid’s coach isn’t paying enough attention to your swimmer.



Opinion: Parents Should Teach Children to Be Coachable

LexisNexis(R) logoAthleticBusiness.com has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.
Copyright 2015 The Deseret News Publishing Co.
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)


As I picked my 10-year-old daughter, Aspen, up from her gymnastics class, I could tell that she was visibly upset. She had obviously had a rough practice, and I knew that as soon as we got in the car I would hear all about it.

"My coach got mad at me," she said.

"What for?" I asked.

"First, she got mad at me for doing a back tuck instead of a back handspring. Then, when I was doing my kip, she got mad at me for not holding on to the bar right. I started to cry, and so she told me to walk laps around the gym to cool off and wouldn't let me do vault until I was done crying.

"I don't like my coach," she announced. "A good coach wouldn't get mad. She would see that I was crying and feel bad for me. I want a new coach."

When she was done talking, I knew it was my turn to say something - and I knew just what she wanted me to say. Aspen wanted me to side with her, completely agreeing about how awful her coach is and that she should never get mad at her.

And as much as I knew that this would quickly stop the tears and make Aspen my best friend for the night, I knew that responding that way would only make things worse in the long run.

So, I took the hard road.

"Aspen," I said. "Did you do what your coach said?"

"Well, I didn't hear her right. And when I told her that, she said that I needed to listen better."

"After you listened, did things get better?" I asked.

"Yes," she said.

I went on to explain to Aspen that her coach's job was to teach her correct technique. I told her that sometimes coaches yell and are hard on you. I told her that her job as an athlete is to listen to her coach, do what she says and not to take things personally.

I wish I could tell you that Aspen was happy with my response, but she wasn't. She was upset that I didn't side with her, and it was evident in the pouting that took place over the majority of the drive home - but I knew I made the right decision.

Had I sided with my daughter in this particular situation, it would have set a pretty clear message. It would lead her to believe that it is OK to undermine her coach - it would make my daughter uncoachable.

Too often, parents will speak poorly of coaches in front of their children in an effort to quickly remedy the situation. What they're doing, however, is causing more problems in the long run.

Always siding with your children in situations such as these makes them unable to take criticism. It makes them believe that they don't need to listen to their coaches, something that will prevent them from excelling in their sport or in life.

The next time your young athlete comes to you with a complaint about his or her coach, think twice before you undermine that coach. It may be hard, but trust me, it will be worth it.

Arianne Brown is a mother of six young children



How a Coach Selects a Relay Team:

Relays… we all love them. They’re often the highlight of the meet. Your child races their heart out for their team-mates while the crowd goes wild. It’s not surprising that everyone wants to be selected. However, especially in large teams this is not always possible. It can help to understand a few key points before you  find that coach to give them a piece of your mind…

1. Firstly all relays require a multiple of 4 swimmers. Therefore if you have 6 swimmers in your club of a particular age and gender, two will miss out.

2. Most good coaches select teams based on times. Remember that if the meet is short course they will consider the top 4 short course times, if it is long course they will consider the top 4 long course times. Your child may have different personal bests in each course format and this may affect selections.

3. The generally accepted format for selecting a Freestyle team is that the fastest swimmer will anchor the team and go last, the 2nd fastest with start the race and the remaining swimmers will fill 2nd and 3rd spots.

4. In larger Championship style meets coaches are not usually required to declare their relays until the beginning of the session and can name alternates. In fact they may be able to swim a different combination of swimmers in the pre-lims than they ultimately field in the finals. This is very common in Olympic relays. In this scenario it is important to understand that the coach(es) may change selections right up until the team is declared to officials, based on form at the meet. If your child goes into the meet ranked 2nd fastest in the 100m Freestyle for your club and is pencilled in to contest the 4 x 100m Freestyle relay… but after the prelims of his/her individual 100m event they are the 5th or 6th ranked swimmer from your club, it could be that the coach will choose one of the others to contest the final of the relay. This is a tough pill to swallow but usually only happens at Open level and not commonly at age group meets.

5. At most meets only the A team will score and often the B, C, D, etc… teams will not be eligible for medals, ribbons or points. So why participate? Relays are fun, first and foremost and also it is great practice for the day your child IS selected for the A team.

6. Medley relays… yes let’s open that can of worms… these multi-stroke relays often throw up surprising combinations. Your child may enjoy and be your club’s fastest at Breaststroker for example, however this may not be the best option for the team. It may be that for the group of swimmers available, it is better for your child to swim a different stroke as the combination of times is faster. This can be tough to get your head around. Keep in mind in very young age group team the coach may also have to consider if everyone in the team can swim each stroke legally to ensure the team is not disqualified. Try to take a TEAM approach to relay selections.

7. What about split times? Often due to the exciting team nature of relays, athletes swim “out of their skin” and post super fast splits. Can you use these as new personal bests or records? Yes and no. The first swimmer may use his/her split time as he/she had an official start, the remaining three swimmers cannot as theirs was a “flying start”. Occasionally a coach might choose to place a swimmer vying for qualification or a National cut in position 1 in a relay in order to give them an extra shot at qualification. This does contradict some of the points above but hopefully he/she talks it through with the team and they support the athlete in question.

8. Another important consideration which can complicate a coaches selections is that of workload and the meet running order. It could be that an athlete has an enormous workload at a meet or a particularly hectic session of events. In this case the coach and athlete may make a judgement call that he/she is not suited for relay selection on that occasion. This is a positive for the next swimmer in line but can create tension with other team members. The coach will be carefully weighing the needs and well being of the individual with the needs of the team.

9. Often relays are double points. This in itself can create a dilemma and relays can win meets! It might be that if events are restricted your child may have more relay events than individual ones. Both are of value.

As you can see relay selections are not a perfect science. A good coach will use the data at hand but also take into consideration the special circumstances of the meet rules and regulations, the athletes he/she has available, each swimmers form at the event in question and their health and well-being.


From SwimSwam 8.2.2015

Let Your Kid Take Ownership
Elizabeth Wickham

Here are five tips on what not to do if you want your child to take ownership. I’m sure we are all guilty of some of these. We need to watch out and check ourselves if we’re going overboard.

  1. We take over. It’s easy to get overly involved by attending every workout, competition, and start coaching our kids. We use “we” and “our” when discussing their swims.
  2. Our kids are perfect. We overestimate how much talent or desire our kids have. We have unrealistic expectations for them, which may lead them to feel like a failure.
  3. We burden our kids. If you’re putting the weight of your happiness on your kid, your child is going to feel too much pressure. It’s no longer going to be fun for them if they fear you’ll be sad and disappointed if they don’t perform well.
  4. We live vicariously through our kids. Do we measure our success and failure with how well our kids perform? Are we more elated after a good swim, than our child is?
  5. We put a price tag on swimming. We tell our kids how much it costs in terms of money or time commitment. Or, we expect a pay off in the form of a scholarship. Let’s be supportive and not make our kids feel guilty for their commitment and dedication.
  6. Don’t set goals. We can suggest or encourage goal setting. But, if we want that Junior National or Junior Olympic cut—that’s our goal. Not theirs. Let them set their own goals and tell you what they are. Then you can share in the joy when they reach them.

We want our kids to have fun, be motivated and take ownership of their actions and outcomes.

What do you do to encourage your swimmer to develop ownership?



Golden Helmet 7.21.2015 


Doc Rivers is the head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers and a PCA National Advisory Board Member. He had a stellar playing career with Marquette University and several NBA teams before moving on to coach the Orlando Magic and then the Celtics, whom he led to the 2008 NBA Championship. Rivers is also a prominent sports parent, most notably as father of Austin Rivers, who played at Duke University before playing for his father with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rivers explains a simple way to be a successful sports parent: support and enjoy your kids. One of the best ways you can support your kid after a game is with the short phrase, "Great job, keep working." Parents are often tempted to say more and analyze their kids performance, but saying only this might be what's best for the kid who simply needs support



Being a swim mom is no joke. It’s a near endless cycle of driving, packing, planning, cheering, volunteering and more driving. On top of the kazillion weekly workouts is the fact that our season is so long that the break between the last championship meet and “training camp” was what amounted to an extra long weekend.

My mom managed it somehow, and looking back, I cannot possibly understand how she did it. Between myself and my two sisters we swam in different groups, at different times, at different schools.

To this day I imagine the only way she was able to manage the balancing act of working full time and car-pooling/volunteering/feeding us over the years was by driving between schools and pools like Jeff Gordon runs his race car

In the words of the late poet Tupac Shakur in his 1995 ode to mothers, “Dear Mama”: And there’s no way I can pay you back / But my plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated.

Here are 6 reasons swim moms kick a whole ton of butt:

1. Swim moms remember the small things.

A lot of things get dropped after a long day of distance workouts and school. Laundry, for instance. They remember to put your towel and suit in the dryer/wash after a day of two distance workouts. Not much worse than putting on a wet suit at the following morning’s outdoor workout, and then trying to dry yourself with a soggy, rolled up towel.

2. Swim moms act as the voice of reason early in the morning.

Even though we hated you for it at the time, when you come in to wake us up for morning workout by turning on all the lights, ripping our sheets off and threatening to wake up dad (who would come downstairs wielding a pitcher of water) we were certainly grateful for it the next time a meet came around and we pounded that personal best time into the next week.

3. The team swim moms got our back too.

Even if they aren’t our moms, it’s a nice feeling to get a “great swim!” from someone else’s parents after a big success. When things don’t go well, the “You’ll get ‘em next time” from a teammate’s swim mom is a bit of consolation in the face of defeat.

4. Swim moms are volunteers with MBA’s.

Like driving us to practice, making sure we are properly fed, and that we are packing all of our gear wasn’t enough, swim moms are also part of the machinery that makes the swim club work.

From fundraisers, to putting time in at late night board meetings, to officiating, to organizing meets, swim moms earn an honorary business degree while performing volunteer duties and time to make the team run.

5. Swim moms are our number one cheerleaders.

Sure, they might appear to lose their sanity a little bit in the stands screaming at us to swim harder (we’re trying, promise!), but we know it comes from a place of love, and even though we might get a little embarrassed by the attention from time to time rest assured that we will come to appreciate it very much.

6. Swim moms get bit by the swim bug.

My parents didn’t have a clue about the sport of swimming when I and my sisters fell in love with it. They both immersed themselves in the sport in order to support us in the best way possible.

This was a consistent theme with swimmers I grew up with; even today many of those former teammate’s parents are still involved at local meets even though their own kids long ago left the competitive side of the sport.


Link to read: Parents Driving Coaches Away from the Game!

Dear Maryland Swimming Parent,

Right After a Competition...

In the immediate aftermath of excitement around a youth sports competition - win or lose - it is tempting to de-brief the game with your children right away. Whether experiencing the "thrill of victory" or the "agony of defeat" chances are your children need some time and space to process emotions.

Give them those gifts. Resist the temptation to critique or even analyze the game on the car ride home. Asking "Did you have fun?" or "What did you think of the game?" is an OK opener, and you should be prepared to offer unconditional love and support regardless of their performance. But if your child seems unready to talk about it, respect that and invite a discussion of the game whenever your son or daughter is ready.

Positive Coaching Alliance

Click to read: What Youth Sports Can Learn from Video Games

When an intervention is needed between parent and coach.
"When you, as a parent, feel an intervention with the coach is needed, the first question to ask yourself is "Is this something my child should do for herself?" Consider empowering your child to speak to the coach, If you feel you are the appropriate person to intervene, I recommend talking to your child first, unless she is too young to understand what is going on. If your child does not want you to intervene, you need to decide whether the situation is so bad that you need to do so anyway. As a parent, you should always have the ultimate control of any situation in which your child is at risk."
Jim Thompson, Founder PCA

Do you love summer swimming as much as we do? If so, you can certainly relate to these!

5 Things Summer Swim Parents can Appreciate: From Charlie Houchin's Blog

  1. Standing around for hours to watch your kid swim for 30 seconds
  2. Fighting for lawn chairs so you can have a great view of the pool
  3. Outdoor pools. No shade. 90 degrees. Enough said
  4. Being talked into timing a meet..."The best seat in the house"
  5. Seeing a big smile on your swimmers face when they go a best time...


This resource is an excerpt from PCA Founder Jim Thompson’s book, The High School Sports Parent.

The transition to high school can be jarring for teenagers. After having figured out a place for themselves in elementary and middle school, they now have to do it all over again, at what seems like much higher stakes.

The transition also often challenges high school parents. Teenagers are changing rapidly and trying out new ways to relate to their parents as they move steadily and/or tentatively toward independence. And if your child is or aspires to be a high school athlete, there is a whole other set of challenges to negotiate.

PCA tapped its network of coaches, athletic directors, and parents to identify how high school sports parents can help their athletes thrive in high school sports. Here are four big ideas to help you understand your athlete’s challenges and what you can do to help your teen thrive:

1.) High school sports involves a lot of time and effort
2.) High school athletes are smack in the middle of a transition to adulthood
3.) High school programs have a chain of authority
4.) High school sports is a very public stage.


Alphabet Of Parenting

By Ann Landers

Dear Ann Landers: My husband and I have three children, ages 23,17 and 15, who are decent and successful. Many relatives and friends have commented on what great kids we have.  With so many young parents without extended families, perhaps our alphabet of child-raising ideas can help. Please share it with your readers if you feel it is worth printing.-Jo Frisbie von Tiehl in Pasadena, CA

Dear Jo: With pleasure. Thanks for a unique contribution.

A is for accountability. Hold your children accountable for their behavior. B is for boundaries. Set specific limits and make clear the repercussions if they’re exceeded. C is for consistency. Hold to the same principles and practices. D is for discipline. Never discipline in anger. E is for example. Set a good one. F is for forgiveness. Teach the importance of it. G is for giving. Teach the joy of it. H is for sense of humor. Promote laughter with your children. I is for imagination. Be creative, and play with your children. J is for justice. Be fair. K is for knowing your children’s friends and their parents as well as their teachers. L is for listening. Listen to your children. It will teach them how to listen to others. M is for morals. Be sure your own standard of conduct is sound. N is for no. Use it and mean it. O is for outdoors. Provide as much outdoor activity as possible. P is for pressure. Reduce the pressure on your children, but insist they maintain high standards. Q is for questions. Pay close attention to theirs. R is for respect. Show it, teach it and earn it. S is for source of strength. Share your own faith or beliefs with your children. T is for togetherness. Have special, designated times to be together-but know when to let go. U is for uniqueness. Let the child be who he or she is. V is for voice. Tone of voice can convey more than words spoken. W is for words. Keep your word. X is for examine. Examine constantly, and be aware. Y is for you. Take care of yourself. A happy parent helps a child to be happy. Z is for zowie! Who would have thought they would grow up so quickly?


Parent Signage

As seen in a Hockey Arena in Canada

Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are.
But, having an athlete that is coach able, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and does their best, IS a direct reflection of your parenting.

Have a question about a registration error, meet results or a recorded time? Please Do Not Call USA Swimming - they cannot assist you with a meet or registration issue here in MD. Please email: office@mdswim.org explaining your concern or question. We will contact the proper person to get an explanation for you.

Click to read: 5 Words Every Child  Needs to Hear

Celebrate Success

By Jon Gordon, Author

Each night before my children go to bed I ask them what their success of the day is. The idea came from a story I read about the Olympic gymnast, Bart Connor. Turns out 9 months before the 1984 Olympics he tore his bicep muscle. They said he would never make it back in time to compete in the Olympics. But not only did he make it back, he won two gold medals.

When Charlie Jones, the television broadcaster, was interviewing him, he asked Bart how he did it. Bart thanked his parents. Charlie Jones said, “Come on Bart, everyone thanks their parents when they win a gold medal.” Bart told Charlie that this was different. He said, “Every night before bed my parents would ask me what my success was. So I went to bed a success every night of my life. I woke up every morning a success. When I was injured before the Olympics, I knew I was going to make it back because I was a success every day of my life.” Talk about a confidence booster.

Since engaging in this practice with my children I can attest it works. I also know it works because I share this story in my keynotes and hear great stories from people all the time who are doing this with their children.
I also know it works for adults in businesses, schools, and organizations because when we focus on what people are doing right, they do more things right. It’s the simple, powerful message in the classic book The One Minute Manager and it’s an important part of the work I do with organizations.

Teams and organizations that focus on and celebrate success create more success. Success becomes ingrained in the culture and people naturally look for it, focus on it and expect it. That’s why certain football coaches and business leaders are always successful. They implement systems and principles that create a culture that celebrates and expects success and this drives behavior and habits that create successful outcomes.
So how do we put this into practice? The ideas are endless but here are few: If you are in sales have a sales meeting each week (in person or by phone) and share success stories. If you are in management recognize people and their success throughout the year. Not just during annual meetings. Celebrate the small wins as much as the big wins. Celebrate successful projects and implementations. As a leader you’ll want to praise people and reinforce successes that shine a spotlight on important goals and growth initiatives. For your own personal growth, keep a daily and weekly success journal. Write down your success of the day. Do this for 30 days and you’ll see amazing results.

What we focus on shows up more in our life. If we look for and celebrate success we’ll see more of it. [Tweet That]
It works for Olympic athletes, children and us.

How do you and your team celebrate success?

Become a Maryland Swimming Leader: Volunteer!

What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent - and What Makes A Great One?

Seven rules for talking to children about self image
by Brain Cuban (brother of Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban)

  1. Remember that your child is not you. He/she is a unique individual, bringing a unique genetic and psychological makeup to the game.
  2. When talking to your child, it is important to talk to them based on their view of life, not yours.
  3. Shaming words do hurt and are remembered for life.
  4. It is important to understand how to speak to your child based on the specific problem. The problem may not be what you think it is.
  5. If you’re not sure how to speak to your child about it, speak to a professional first.
  6. There is no shame in speaking to a professional first.
  7. If your child is showing signs of a distorted self-image don’t blame yourself. Work the problem. Focus on the solution.

Tips for Parents on how to handle the 120 day rule if the family is moving

How to end those defensive conversations with your athlete  -a great video!


The Magic Helmet - click to wach  - a Powerful Video all parents should watch!

Swimming's Version of the Magic Helmet from the Atlantic Business Journal:
1. These are children!
2. This is just a swim meet; there will be another one next month!
3. Parents should cheer for everyone!
4. Time does not measure the worth of a child!
5. The officials are human, as well as volunteers!
6. You and your child are not at the Olympics!

What Teachers Really Want To Tell Parents (From the USA Swimming Newsletter to Coaches)

By Ron Clark, as seen on CNN

This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.

I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."

Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.

So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.

Please quit with all the excuses. And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks. His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete.

Can you feel my pain?

Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.

And parents, you know it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.

This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!"

Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.

Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.

And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.
Teachers are walking on eggshells. I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.

My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"

I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow's outstanding educators.

Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner. If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.
We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you-- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.
That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.

Editor's note: Ron Clark, author of "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck -- 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers," has been named "American Teacher of the Year" by Disney and was Oprah Winfrey's pick as her "Phenomenal Man." He founded The Ron Clark Academy, which educators from around the world have visited to learn.

Links to:

Children Who Swim Are Smarter: Study - Zeenews.com

Disability Information for Swimmers

Link to: The Most Powerful 3 Letter Word a Parent or Teacher Can Use

Link to: Know the APC's of Abuse

Energy Drinks are Harming Your Kids
Dr. Manny Alvarez

Energy drinks are labeled wrong. They don’t energize you – they stimulate you.

Research shows that beyond a brief caffeine high, there are actually no health benefits to energy drinks. In fact, the combination of different chemicals is likely to do more harm than good, especially for children.

Some of the unwelcome side effects of the drinks include elevated heart rates, hypertension, anxiety, headaches and interrupted sleep patterns. A recent study by the University of Miami suggests even more serious outcomes, such as heart palpitations, strokes and sudden death.

Listen, I know it’s hard to believe that something that looks like soda could cause any of these symptoms. But let’s look at the facts here: Energy drinks have three to five times the amount of caffeine as regular sodas do. They also include a number of unregulated herbal stimulants and natural blends like taurine, guarana, creatine and B-vitamins.

And a lot of the time, they don’t even bother to list these ingredients on the label.

Does this sound like a product you want your kid guzzling down to get them through the school day? I know we’re all busy, and your child probably has a number of extracurricular activities, tests and projects going on all at once, but energy drinks are not the answer.

The sad thing is that it all boils down to common sense. These products get on the market, and they have flashy colors and cool commercials. The advertisers are specifically targeting kids.

Then, the kids get hurt and everybody wonders: What happened?

What happened was that you have companies that don’t care about children’s health, government regulators that don’t know what they’re doing, people that don’t want to be regulated, and most importantly, the power of the almighty dollar.

From a health care perspective, it has been obvious all along. These things can lead to no good.

There certainly haven’t been any studies showing the health benefits of these drinks. Actually, it’s quite the contrary; these drinks can be dangerous, according to this latest study from researchers at the University of Miami.

So let’s stop the debate. Parents; don’t let your kids drink this stuff, and companies; stop targeting our kids.

Link to Helicopter Parents As Posted by USA Swimming

Helping Put Athletics in Perspective for Your Child
By Aimee C. Kimball, PhD, CC-AASP

To strive for high standards of athletic excellence is commendable. But parents and athletes alike must
realizethat the chances of actually becoming a professional are remote. Even if your child appears to be a gifted athlete, the odds are overwhelm¬ing. Given the reality of the situation, a career in professional sports or even participation at the elite college level is an unrealistic goal for the majority of young athletes. It is therefore important to impress upon youngsters that sports are but one part of their life. It is all too easy for youngsters and parents alike to harbor fantasies of turning pro and to sacrifice other areas of development in pursuit of that fabled status and its rewards of fame, money, and glory. It is not at all uncommon for athletesto become one-dimensional people. Putting young athletes on pedestals and granting them special favors may in the long run be a disservice to them. Be thankful if your youngster does have athletic ability, but at the same time help him or her to develop into a well-rounded person. As valuable as we believe athletics canbe for developing youngsters, we do not believe spiritual enrichment, social and aca¬demic development, and quality of family life should suffer. Sports can offer both fun and fulfillment, but there is more to lifethan sports. Perhaps the best advice we can give is to encourage your child to participate in sports if he or she wishes to, but at the same time do not allow the tail to wag the dog. Help your child to understand that sport participation is not an end in itself, but a means of achiev¬ing various goals. Teach your child to enjoy the process of participation for itself rather than to focus on such end-products as victories and trophies. Neither victory nor defeat should be blown out of proportion, and no parent should permit a child to define his or her self-worth purely on the basis of sport performance. By keep¬ing sports in perspective, you can make it a source of personal and family growth.

Parent Education
The USA Swimming Safe Sport program offers FREE parent education for our membership. The course is online and takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. We have had overwhelmingly positive reviews from those who have taken it but there are many more parents out there who should have this important information . We are all responsible for making sure our children are safe in swimming!   Link for Free Parent Education

What every parent should know about safe racing

To avoid risk of serious injury, no swimmer who has not been properly trained should attempt to perform a racing start, from either a starting block or the side of the pool, into less than six feet of water.
USA Swimming has implemented a racing start certification program where a swimmer’s coach documents his or her professional judgment that a swimmer has demonstrated sufficient skill to safely perform a racing start into four feet of water.Although somewhat unusual, swimmers do not always participate in swimming competitions under the supervision of a certified coach. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure the swimmer does not attempt to perform a racing start in less than six feet of water if the swimmer has not been properly certified by the swimmer’s coach to do so.

Become one of the 2% of Club Volunteers
  • 2% are "Leaders"
  • 5-10% are "Doers"
  • 15-20% are "do Somethingers"
  • 68-88% are "Belongers" (Get them on Board)
  • The reason most clubs "never have anyone who volunteers"? Because they have never been asked!
  • Why Should You Volunteer to Help Your Swim Club?(ASCA Article)

    Parents play a crucial role in the success of their swimmers. Unfortunately, many parents aren't sure what that role is. Below are some articles to aid you.

    What can I do as a parent to help my swimmers to reach their full potential?

    50 Things to Help your Child Achieve
    10 Commandments for Swimming Parents
    The Debrief - What to ask your swimmer after practice
    What and When should my swimmer eat?

    I need help with all these swimming terms and rules!
    Understanding the rules for each stroke
    Glossary of Swimming Terms

    Additional Resources
    Benefits of USA Swimming Membership
    I want to be a volunteer